GARSTON VETS LEAGUE
MACCABI LONDON LIONS 6 RAYNERS LANE 2
The hosts started sharply, and should really have been ahead when Lee Cash was freed but his early strike across the keeper came back off the post with no Lion on hand to follow up.
Brad Lazarus was then denied by excellent goalkeeping before Rob Glass saw a flicked header cannon back off the bar. And when Lazarus whipped in another corner that struck the bar directly Lions started to think this might not be their day.
At the other end, Andy Myers and Glass were calmness personified and in control, allowing Jon Rayner and the returning Adam Harvey to press on. Matty Kleinman was everywhere in midfield, breaking up play and using the ball wisely, allowing Alex Levack and Dan Stanton to pull the strings.
Tony Gold was now finding space out wide and two good crosses almost led to goals. Paul Lenchner was introduced up front, and with almost his first touch he gave Lions the lead they deserved. A through ball from Gold seemed to favour the keeper but the Lions striker burst to nip the ball away before rounding the stranded stopper and slotting home expertly from a tight angle.
And on the stroke of half time the lead was doubled after an almighty scramble. From a Gold corner all hell broke loose. Both Glass and Kleinman hit the woodwork before Lenchner inadvertently blocked a goal bound shot. But finally the ball fell to Stanton 12 yards out who smashed home emphatically through the bodies to make the half time cuppa that much sweeter.
Yet from the kick-off Rayners Lane’s impressive No. 10 weaved his way through what seemed the whole Lions side, held off Glass before slotting home past Lee to halve the deficit. Game on.
But the Lions reaction was superb, Kleinman, Levack and Stanton regained control of the midfield and they played some of their best football of the season. And it was fitting that Stanton was the one who restored the two-goal margin, another drilled finish deserved reward for his enterprising play.
Gold then somehow missed, firing over from virtually under the bar after great work by Cash, but the fourth did come via another tidy finish from Lenchner.
Despite being on the back foot and 4-1 down Rayners Lane remained a threat on the counter, and got themselves a lifeline as from a corner the ball flicked off Levack before deflecting off Myers and into his own net.
Again though, Lions ensured no comeback was on, a fine move ended with skipper Lazarus applying a cool finish. With the clock running down and the visitors pushing forward Lions scored a fantastic late team goal. Lee raced out of his box to clear, his ball finding Gold who controlled into the path of Myers. He carried on his run, exchanging passes with first Levack and then Lazarus, the latter breaking down the left before squaring for Myers to side foot home.
Lions joint-manager Dan Jacobs commented: "It was a good performance against a very decent side. We were rewarded with the three points that our play definitely merited."
LIONS: Brad Lee, Jon Rayner, Adam Harvey, Matt Kleinman, Andy Myers, Rob Glass, Alex Levack, Dan Stanton, Brad Lazarus, Lee Cash, Tony Gold. Sub: Paul Lenchner
SCORERS: Stanton 2, Lenchner 2, Myers, Lazarus